The Minnesota Vikings have always been a team that values great pass-rushing talent. Whether it comes from the interior defensive line, off the edge, a linebacker or even from somewhere in the secondary; Minnesota has consistently placed an emphasis on pressuring opposing quarterbacks.
So, when the Vikings parted ways with two of their top sackers in franchise history following the 2013 NFL season in defensive end Jared Allen and defensive tackle Kevin Williams, it should not have come as a shock that the team was immediately interested in reloading with premiere talent and high-ceiling players.
This reboot included handing defensive end Everson Griffen a lucrative 5-year contract extension, signing nose tackle Linval Joseph away from the New York Giants, adding veteran defensive tackle Tom Johnson, selecting UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr and Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton during the 2014 NFL draft as well as bringing in UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks, LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter and Newberry linebacker Edmond Robinson during the 2015 NFL draft.
With exception to the selection of Crichton during the third round of the 2014 draft, all of these moves have played an enormous role in the Vikings becoming one of the most dangerous pass-rushing defenses in the NFL. While players like Griffen, Joseph and Barr have garnered more attention for their successes, no player has sacked quarterbacks with more regularity during the 2016 season than Hunter — a second-year talent who was universally considered to be “raw” and “a few years away” coming out of Louisiana State University.